Gourds are an integral part of South Indian diet. High on nutrition value on low on fat, these vegetables are easy to digest. They have been a part of convalesence diet or post-illness diet for a long time now. Snake gourd is one of the gourds that has been a part of traditional South Indian cooking. Named after its shape, it is easy to cook and healthy.
One of the dishes that is made with this gourd is a curd salad known in telugu as perugu pachadi. It conisits of curd and South Indian style simple tempering. It is a kindof curd and snake gourd salad with tempering. Here is how it is made.
You would require:
Snake gourd : one medium chopped.
(You can peel the skin from the gourd before chopping, or leave the skin as it is. I prefer to remove the skin, as the cooking time is low, and well knowing the amount of pesticides that are used, I feel better peeling the skin off in this particular dish.)
Curd : 3/4 of a cup or as required beaten well
(It is always good to use thick curd as it gives a better flavour. You can always, ofcourse, add water to the curd before beating. It is a matter of personal choice.)
Tomato – 1 small finely chopped.
(Tomato in this dish is optional. I feel it breaks the momotony of the green colour of this dish. It also provides a good crunch. Hybrid tomato is better than regular tomato as it is a little firmer and retains its shape.)
Salt – to taste.
Chilli powder – to taste
For the tempering:
Urad dal/minappa pappu : 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera: 1/4 tsp
Broken dry red chilli: 1 small
Fenugreek/methi seeds : a few
(Do not overdo the methi seeds as they will turn the dish bitter)
Asafoetida/hing/inguva: a pinch
Turmeric powder : a pinch
Green chillies : 1 small finely chopped (optional or according to taste)
Curry leaves: a few
Coriander leaves : a few finely chopped for garnish
Here is how you make the dish:
Heat some oil in a pan. Add the chopped gourd pieces to it. Stir. Cover the pan and cook on low flame. We need to allow the pieces to cook from inside instead of frying them.
Keep sprinking some water on the pieces occasionally, stir and cover. This water will help create the steam which will cook the pieces from inside. Once you feel the pieces have been medium cooked remove from the stove. Do not allow them to go too soft. You can sprinkle some salt while cooking the gourd. Allow the pieces to cool down.
Mix the beaten curd well with salt and chilli powder. Add the chopped tomato and cooked gourd pieces. Mix well and keep aside.
* I didnt add tomatoes in the pictures here.
For the tempering:
Heat some oil in a kadhai. Add udad dal to it and fry. Let the dal change colour. Add mustard seeds. Allow to splutter. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Now add the methi seeds and allow to fry. Add the hing and stir. When the hing starts emanating its aroma, add the turmeric powder, green chillies and curry leaves and fry well. Remove from the flame. Allow to cool a little.
Add the tempering to the beaten curd mix. Mix well.
Check seasoning. Garnish with coriander.
It is always good to chill this dish for sometime in the fridge as chilling enhances the flavour. Serve with rice or chapatis or biryani/pulao.
If you have enough time on hand, you can lightly toast the fenugreek/methi seeds till lightly brown, grind them in a mixie and add the powder to the tempering instead of the methi seeds. This will give an added flavour to the dish.
You can also add chopped spring onion to the dish. This will give a citrusy flavour.